Atheist, Agnostic, and Humanist 12 Steps

I have a hard time picturing a higher power (HP) while attending OA and learning about the steps.  I was thinking that my HP could be the OA fellowship, since I really can’t believe in a higher power, other than the laws of physics.  I think I like these versions of the steps better that the ones that actually mention God or a Higher Power (compiled from the blog of Bellwood Health Services):


Agnostics AA 12 Steps

Roger C. (2012). The Little Book. A Collection of Alternative 12 Steps, (11)

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe and to accept that we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to entrust our will and our lives to the care of the collective wisdom and resources of those who have searched before us.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to ourselves without reservation and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were ready to accept help in letting go of all our defects of character.
  7. With humility and openness sought to eliminate our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through meditation to improve our spiritual awareness and our understanding of the AA way of life and to discover the power to carry out that way of life.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Humanist Twelve Steps

Roger C. (2012). The Little Book. A Collection of Alternative 12 Steps, (13)
Renowned behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner’s 12-Step version first published in “The Humanist” (1987).

  1. We accept the fact that all our efforts to stop drinking have failed.
  2. We believe that we must turn elsewhere for help.
  3. We turn to our fellow men and women, particularly those who have struggled with the same problem.
  4. We have made a list of the situations in which we are most likely to drink.
  5. We ask our friends to help us avoid these situations.
  6. We are ready to accept the help they give us.
  7. We earnestly hope that they will help.
  8. We have made a list of the persons we have harmed and to whom we hope to make amends.
  9. We shall do all we can to make amends, in any way that will not cause further harm.
  10. We will continue to make such lists and revise them as needed.
  11. We appreciate what our friends have done and are doing to help us.
  12. We, in turn, are ready to help others who may come to us in the same way.

So re-written for overeating the agnostic OA steps would be (based on Roger C (2012)):

Agnostics OA 12 Steps
  1. We admitted we were powerless over food—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe and to accept that we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to entrust our will and our lives to the care of the collective wisdom and resources of those who have searched before us.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to ourselves without reservation and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were ready to accept help in letting go of all our defects of character.
  7. With humility and openness sought to eliminate our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through meditation to improve our spiritual awareness and our understanding of the OA way of life and to discover the power to carry out that way of life.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other over eaters, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

tried OA yesterday

Yesterday afternoon I went to my first Overeaters Anonymous meeting.  I think I liked the vibe better than WW since there is more intense sharing, although I’ll need to get used to the higher power aspect.  I ordered some books and materials to read through and listened to the Step One podcast on the way to work this morning.

I cried a lot listening to other people’s stories and then got two people’s phone numbers at the end for support.  Going to check out another meeting later this week or next.  Interested in using the tools and learning more about the 12 steps and 12 traditions in order to help me learn to recover from binge eating.  I’m a little worried about whether I need to totally eliminate my trigger foods from my food plan, or whether I can ever learn to eat those foods in moderation.

Anybody else out there go to OA?  What worked for you?

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